Hereford High senior Megan Momorella was surrounded by red, white, and blue.
Miniature American flags lined the sidewalk leading to the Hereford High main entrance. She spoke from a podium meticulously covered in red, white, and blue stripes.
This elaborate show of patriotism was by design. Momorella, the president of Hereford High’s For Our Troops Club, played a major role in organizing the 10th annual Hereford High Memorial Day observance.
Once again, it drew a crowd.
With all of her classmates watching, Momorella welcomed the event’s distinguished guests.
The Woodlawn High ROTC presented colors. So did the local American Legion. A combined choir from Woodlawn High and Hereford High sang the National Anthem.
Also adding to the ceremony: Firefighters from Hereford and Parkton parked fire engines in front of the school. The 911 Living Memorial was parked just behind the gathered guests.
Interim Superintendent Verletta White was there. Principal Joe Jira was too, of course, proudly watching as Hereford’s Andrew Kilgore read the names of Hereford and Woodlawn alumni who were killed in all wars.
When the solemn ceremony was complete, after all guests were invited to breakfast in the library, Momorella returned outside, once again surrounded by flags, to complete requested media interviews about the significance of this event.
So how did Momorella find herself leading this Memorial Day tradition? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Her friend, Cassidy Nozemack, was Hereford High’s For Our Troops club president last year. Nozemack graduated, headed to Elon University in North Carolina, and is currently a college lacrosse goalie. She’s so proud of being a past president of the club that she lists it on her Elon athlete bio.
Momorella, inspired, was more than willing to take the lead this year. She liked what the club stood for: It created care packages for troops overseas. It wrote letters. It reminded her classmates that brave men and women are defending our freedom every day all over the world.
“I think it’s really important for kids our age to appreciate what soldiers do,” Momorella said.
And it’s important to remember who the Hereford community has lost. Twelve years ago, Marine Cpl. Joshua D. Snyder, 20, and Lance Cpl. Norman W. Anderson III, 21, were killed while serving their country in Iraq.
Both were Hereford High graduates. They died just one month apart. They played football together. They were boot camp roommates. And then they deployed with different battalions. Snyder died in Fallujah, Anderson in Karabilah.
Hereford High started holding a Memorial Day observance one decade ago, with Snyder and Anderson serving as an inspiration for it. Thanks to the For Our Troops club, that tradition continues, year after year, with new students taking leadership when their friends graduate.
And news about the event spreads. Quickly.
“Look at that,” Jira said, his index finger scrolling down on his smart phone, “The ceremony is all over Twitter already.”
Next week, Momorella will graduate. She is headed to the University of Delaware. But the observance will no doubt go on, a tradition that is important to the entire Hereford High community.